All you need to know about EMDR therapy
EMDR…Have you heard that acronym yet? Maybe a friend is using it with their therapist. Or maybe you have seen TV show therapists (Ever watch Grey’s Anatomy or Criminal Minds?!) talk about its use and perform EMDR – don’t forget, what you see on TV rarely is done in reality! For professionals in the counseling world, this tool is even more intriguing as our understanding of how neuroscience and psychology intersect and continues to become more comprehensive. Have I peaked your curiosity yet? Read on to learn more and see if EMDR could be for you.
Can EMDR help with my symptoms?
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a therapy tool developed in the last 30 years by Francine Shapiro, Ph.D. EMDR has quickly become the preferred treatment approach for individuals struggling with emotional health symptoms that stem from traumatic life events, and those who are diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. You need to have this diagnosis to benefit from EMDR however. The term ‘trauma’ is used, and there is a misunderstanding that has to mean something exceedingly terrible. We all experience life uniquely and a traumatic impact is something to be personally defined by the individual’s experience. What makes EMDR so beneficial for most individuals is that it focuses on the person’s individual experience, as this is how the brain assimilated that experience internally.
Because of this, EMDR is a exceptional tool for many issues beyond post traumatic symptoms. It has been used to support treatment of addictions, depressive disorders, anxiety and panic disorders, phobias, complex grief reactions, individuals with chronic physical health issues, and much more. EMDR can also be used in treating these same issues in children. All people can experience great gains from working with a therapist who uses EMDR!
Science behind EMDR
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is an interactive psychotherapy technique. It is a very focused approach for treating trauma and other symptoms. EMDR reconnects the client in a safe and measured way to the images, self-thoughts, emotions, and body sensations associated with the trauma, and allows the natural healing powers of the brain to move toward adaptive resolution. It is based on the idea that traumatic experiences have overwhelmed the brain’s natural coping capacity, and that the healing process can be facilitated through eye movements, which your therapist will call bilateral stimulation. Bilateral stimulation helps the brain to reassimilate an understanding of those past events in the context of the present, safe environment of the therapist’s office (this is called dual awareness), simultaneously allowing the strengths the client now possesses to help support the mind’s understanding of the current stance of the self.
EMDR is often used in conjunction with typical talk therapy modalities, and so you will still have an opportunity to develop a relationship and explore additional aspects of your life as needed.
How will I benefit from EMDR?
Can this help me? Absolutely! EMDR has been the most studied psychological treatment tool in the last 30 years. Study after study show the majority of people who initially present with symptoms of depression or anxiety, PTSD symptoms, and dissociative issues all demonstrate improvement through their work using EMDR. For a comprehensive list of clinical trials and meta analysis studies on the efficacy of EMDR, follow this link. https://www.emdr.com/research-overview/
The length of time for an individual to experience positive results depends on the presenting issue and the complexity of the trauma. We can adapt treatment focus if it is necessary for you to keep your services brief, but for complex trauma issues this is not advisable and you may want to engage into a different therapeutic modality. It would be important for you to address this issue with your therapist. EMDR can still be used within the standard clinical hour.
Who can provide EMDR therapy?
Now that you know more, you might be intrigued enough to want to explore EMDR further with a therapist. Ensuring you are matching yourself with a therapist who has the training and experience in correctly using this modality is important. Here are a few things that you can ask to fully understand your therapist’s competence in providing EMDR therapy:
–What organization sponsored your training in EMDR?
*Those who received their education from EMDRIA have been taught comprehensively in how to use the EMDR protocol
–Are you certified in EMDR?
*Certified EMDR therapists have spent additional supervision hours post initial training under the consultation with a Certified Consultant to enhance their knowledge and skill base.
-How often and when do you use EMDR in your clinical practice?
*This will help you to inform you of their experience and application in using EMDR with clients.
There is much information to absorb here. Do you want to learn more? Take a moment and watch https://youtu.be/Pkfln-ZtWeY youtube video created by EMDRIA for additional information. Miracles Counseling Centers has therapists who are trained in EMDR and would be happy to help you in your journey towards wellness. We have multiple clinicians trained in this excellent treatment approach. Please visit our clinician’s page to find a provider that can serve you!Learn More
For many families, summertime offers a break from the hustle and bustle of the school year and a chance to move at a much slower pace. Parents often enter the summer season excited to spend more time together and make fun memories as a family. However, now that everyone has settled in, you may feel that excitement wearing off if there is an increase in bickering and quarreling. Perhaps you’re starting to feel more like a referee for the increase in squabbles and sibling rivalry between your children. The lack of a normal routine, coupled with the extra family closeness is likely starting to take a toll on the family. We get it. Family conflict is normal and unavoidable, but it is important to know how to manage differences so that you are actually able to enjoy your summer! Here are some tips to help you navigate your family’s conflicts and work to strengthen your relationships this summer!
Improve Relationships Between Siblings
- Spend time with each child individually: The best way to decrease sibling rivalry is to give each child positive, one-on-one attention, so they won’t seek negative attention from one another. Try to carve out 10-15 minutes a few times a week to spend with each child, doing an activity of their choice and nurturing their individual interests.
- Avoid comparisons and labels: When you compare your children to one another or give them labels, such as “the wild one” and “my athletic one,” you are fueling the sibling rivalry. Instead, create opportunities for cooperation by focusing on the unique abilities of each child.
- Know when to get involved: Sometimes, when a parent steps in to break up conflict, it can appear as though you are choosing a side. Try to avoid being the referee and let your children learn how to work through conflict, when possible.
- Encourage finding a solution: While you may not always need to step in as a referee or judge, you can act as a mediator, helping your kids come up with a solution that appeals to both sides. Demonstrating compromise and problem-solving tools can equip your children to solve future conflicts.
- Reward positive interactions: Take time to observe and point out positive interactions between your children. No need to go overboard, but your kids will appreciate the praise.
- Get outside: Encourage time outdoors as much as possible. This will improve your children’s sleep mood, which will help them to better resolve conflicts with siblings.
- Help identify triggers: You can help your children to prevent conflict beforehand by talking through situations that commonly lead to disputes and having them role-play how to handle those situations with respectful words and behaviors
Family Relationship Rules
- Keep boundaries in place: Summer is not the time to forgo all of the family rules. Staying firm in your boundaries is healthy for your family. Be transparent about your expectations for one another during the summertime. Have a family meeting if you need to.
- Maintain a light summer schedule: Along with keeping personal boundaries in place, your family will benefit from some sort of structure. Try to keep mealtime, screen time, and bedtime consistent. There’s still room for flexibility- bedtime can be later. Everyone will get along better if they’re getting enough sleep.
- Play together: Enjoying fun activities together as a family provides opportunities for quality time, deeper family bonding, and healthy communication. These activities don’t have to be expensive or extravagant- it can be a family game night, movie night, picnic dinner, walk through the neighborhood, or trip to the park!
- Find balance: Family activities are great, but don’t need to happen every day of summer. It’s healthy for everyone to have some downtime to themselves. Try to find a balance between planned activities together and quiet or “doing nothing” time apart. It’s okay to be bored sometimes!
- Recognize and communicate feelings: When conflict arises, try to listen to how each person is feeling and point it out. Be direct with your words on how you’re feeling as well, using “I feel…” statements, rather than placing blame.
- Remember to breathe: Emotions can run high during times of conflict. It’s okay to have strong feelings, but it’s important to model self-regulation for your family. Watch your tone of voice. Recognize when you need to step back and breathe before intervening in a state of high emotion.
Source(s): childrensmd.org, chadd.org, health.clevelandclinic.org, extension.usu.edu, today.com, gowoyo.org, myuscare.com, parentingsimply.comLearn More
Many children struggling with childhood ADHD, or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, struggle with impulse control. Impulsivity involves reacting to stimuli without thinking. For kids, this might look like blurting out, bolting away, or throwing a temper tantrum. Often, impulsivity can lead to greater challenges for children, such as behavior issues, feelings of shame, or difficulty forming relationships. It is important to remember that the cause of ADHD is neurologically based – it is in the brain and organic. Those children with ADHD are not choosing their behaviors, and are not lazy. When ADHD is not properly managed, impulsivity and its repercussions can follow children into adulthood.
The good news is that there are several strategies that are effective in helping children with ADHD learn impulse control, or how to stop and think before acting. Here are some you can try:
- Understand your child’s impulses- Know that your child’s impulsive behaviors are not intentional acts of disobedience, but a limited processing reaction. For example, a child does not necessarily want to run in front of a car when they see the ice cream truck. They just know that they want ice cream.
- Establish clear behavior expectations- Define the rules. Instead of telling your child to “be good” at school, be explicit about how you expect them to behave. When giving directions or expectations, ask your child to repeat them back to you. This teaches them to listen.
- Discipline effectively and consistently- Think of discipline as an opportunity to instruct, rather than to merely punish. Focus on the behavior itself as a problem that can be corrected, instead of making the child think he/she is the problem. Address the behavior as soon as it happens by clearly communicating the negative action and applying consistent consequences.
- Praise positive behavior- It’s important to be clear about what your child does right in addition to what they do wrong. Respond with praise when your child exhibits good impulse control, and be consistent. Many children who struggle with impulsivity want to behave and are more likely to do so when they understand what the preferred behavior looks like. Create a reward system, such as a token economy system, which can be a fun way to practice delayed gratification.
- Help your child understand and label their emotions- When children do not understand their emotions or how to properly express them, they are more likely to act impulsively. Teach your child to recognize and label their emotions, so they can tell others how they feel, instead of showing them. Talk about the difference between feelings and behavior (“It’s okay to be angry, but it’s not okay to hit someone.”)
- Model healthy behaviors- Your child can learn a lot about impulse control simply by watching you. Demonstrate patience and delayed gratification. When you address your child’s negative behavior, do so in a calm, collective manner. Avoid impulsive, angry responses. Try to model healthy self-talk by pointing out your own impulse control (“This is a long line, but we have to wait patiently for our turn.”).
- Encourage physical activity- Giving your child opportunities when it is appropriate to run, jump, and climb will allow them to be more self-disciplined during times when these behaviors are not appropriate.
- Offer fun opportunities to practice impulse control- Games like Simon Says, Red Light Green Light, and Follow the Leader are great ways for your child to practice self-control. Your child should feel like this is for fun and enjoyment, so be careful in your approach. You don’t want them to feel like they are being forced to play.
- Encourage creativity in problem solving/suggest alternative behaviors- Help your child understand that there is more than one way to solve a problem and it is important to think through their options before taking action. Practice brainstorming different solutions to problems/alternative behaviors and evaluating these together. For example, if your child is feeling angry, screaming into a pillow or kicking a ball outside are better options than hitting someone.
- Work together on emotion regulation strategies- Teach your child to take deep breaths or take a walk around the house if they are feeling overwhelmed by strong emotions. Create a calm down kit that can help them relax on their own or establish a safe space that they can go to calm down.
Helping children with ADHD manage their impulsivity can be a challenging task for parents. If you find yourself struggling, reach out to us! We have several therapists that can help support you and your child with specific issues related to ADHD!
Source(s): childmind.org, ct.counseling.org, healthline.com, fastbrain.com, verywellfamily.comLearn More
It’s normal for children to experience worries and fears that are typical for their age. We all worry at times. However, when a child’s fears and worries begin to interfere with their daily functioning, it is likely that they are experiencing anxiety. Yes, children can have anxiety. In fact, anxiety is one of the most common mental health struggles among children and teenagers. During this time of year, anxiety is especially prevalent in children, as they head back to school and trade the carefreeness of summer for more structure and responsibility. Being aware of childhood anxiety and what it can look like is important for early detection and treatment.
Parents and caregivers often ask how they might know if a child is experiencing anxiety. Here are some signs to look out for:
-Consistent worrying that will not go away and does not seem to match what they’re actually experiencing.
-Changes in appetite
-Physical symptoms, such as fatigue, headaches, stomach aches, muscle aches, or increased heart rate
-Avoidance of certain situations or things that kids typically enjoy, such as playing with others or going to school
-Difficulty concentrating on schoolwork or other tasks
-Disruptive behavior, angry outbursts, or irritability, which may result from feeling overwhelmed by uncomfortable feelings.
-Clinginess, or difficulty separating from parents or caregivers
-Being too hard on themselves
**If you begin to notice your child exhibiting some of these signs and they remain persistent over time, it may be time to speak with one of our mental health professionals that specialize in working with children.
As previously mentioned, the start of the school year can be especially challenging for children with anxiety. Most kids will experience feelings of nervousness as they transition back to school with a new classroom and teacher. These feelings are typical and will likely go away once the school year gets going and kids adjust. However, for some children, these feelings may continue beyond the first few weeks of school. This is an indicator of anxiety. Children with anxiety will struggle with excessive worry about everyday things. During the school year, these may be things like academic performance, being away from parents and caregivers, or socializing with other students. Excessive worrying about school can begin to interfere with a child’s everyday functioning and well-being.
The best ways to support a child with anxiety during the school year are to talk about their feelings with them, listening with an empathetic ear and validating their concerns. Think about ways you might help them build their confidence, such as reminding them of their past successes in the face of scary feelings. Incorporating help from a mental health professional is also a proactive step to help stave off anxiety that can escalate if left untreated. Cognitive behavioral therapy and play therapy are effective ways for your child to learn how to cope with their anxiety in healthy ways. We offer both of these options at Miracles. If you feel like your child could benefit from these services once the school year is underway, give us a call at 704-664-1009 or contact us here.
Source(s): cdc.gov, childmind.org, health.harvard.edu, hopkinsmedicine.orgLearn More
For most students, the end of the school year is exciting because it means that the freedom of summer break is right around the corner. However, before students can begin to enjoy summer break, they must get past the one thing that many dread the most… testing! For our 3rd-12th grade students, it’s the end-of-grade tests and state exams. For our college students, it’s finals. With the end of the school year fast approaching, many of these students are likely already experiencing test anxiety. This is a term we hear a lot, but what exactly is test anxiety? What causes it? And how can we overcome test anxiety? Read below to learn how to help your student overcome test anxiety.
Test anxiety is a type of performance anxiety that we experience when pressure from high expectations or the fear of failure interfere with our ability to perform well when taking tests. Having some nervous feelings before a test is normal. In fact, these feelings are helpful because they keep our minds alert and focused. However, too much test anxiety can have the opposite effect, making it difficult to recall information or think clearly. Serious test anxiety can also lead to physical symptoms, such as, increased heart rate, shortness of breath, sweating, dry mouth, sweaty palms, headaches, upset stomach, nausea & vomiting, shaking, fainting, or even panic attacks. In addition to physical symptoms, those with test anxiety may experience emotional symptoms, like low self-esteem, frustration, irritability, fear, or helplessness. If this sounds like you or your child, then how can you begin to manage your test anxiety?
Here are some test taking tips to help you during this exam season:
- Prepare Well- Feeling prepared for a test ahead of time can help reduce your anxiety on test day, while cramming only increases it. Consider joining a study group or finding a tutor if the material is challenging. Also, be sure to learn all you can about the format of the test beforehand, such as how many or what types of questions will be on it.
- Be Mindful of Self-Talk – Watch out for unrealistic or negative thoughts. It can be easy to go down this road, but try to think about what you are telling yourself, how rational it is, and if there’s something better you could say. For example, if you find yourself saying “I have to do well on this exam,” challenge that thought with “Even if I don’t do well, it’s not the end of the world.” Or, if you say “I’m gonna fail this exam,” remind yourself of all the times you’ve successfully taken exams in the past.
- Visualize Success- Picture yourself on exam day feeling confident and doing well on the exam. If you visualize successful completion of the test, it can help you make it happen in real life!
- Use Relaxation Techniques– While studying for your test, practice deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, or mindfulness meditation and be sure to take breaks! Some of these strategies can also be used during the test when you start to feel overwhelmed!
- Stay Healthy- Students often neglect their physical health when preparing for exams, which can worsen test anxiety. Be sure to get adequate sleep, eat nutrient-rich foods, regulate caffeine intake, and make time for physical movement during the time leading up to the test. On test day, remember to eat an adequate meal and avoid excess caffeine.
- Have Grace for Yourself- Remember that a little bit of anxiety before a test is healthy, so don’t be upset with yourself for this! Accept this feeling and realize that it helps you stay motivated. Try to let go of perfectionism. Remember that it is impossible to know everything! When studying, focus on the major concepts first and then return to the less important information if you have time.
- Reward Yourself- Plan something to look forward to after the test to celebrate your completion. This does not have to be big, and elaborate! Just make sure to take some time to relax and debrief afterward. You worked so hard! Be proud of yourself! If you have multiple exams, try to allow at least a small break before studying for the next one.